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Have you ever met a REAL Christian?

 

Joshua Hernandez’s funeral this week was moving and inspiring.  Heartland Church took the challenge on and overcame, revealing the glory of Joshua’s life, and death.  Literally a member of the church from birth to his death, Heartland’s influence helped shape Joshua into the warrior he was for  Christ with programs like Elevate; providing a crucible for childhood and adolescent fun; fostering and nurturing his spiritual development.

It revealed itself to be courageous, asking at the service – “have you ever wondered if there are any real Christians?”  Answering the question with: Joshua was a “real” Christian – a rare example of a human being and an example for Christ, dealing temptation, while through his actions, representing Christianity.  Not proclaiming who he was, but being in Christ, through these actions (to mention a few)

  1. He was Safe – many stories were shared at the funeral, and many more have appeared on Facebook and the internet.  Joshua saying to the incoming freshmen last year “if anyone messes with you come tell me and I’ll deal with it,” interpreted by them as “I will help make this new high school experience safe for you” endeared and empowered others to confront their fears in a new, intimidating experience – high school.  Knowing he had their back they relaxed, enjoyed, and embraced a new experience transforming fear into courage.  Christianity revealed through empathy and care in asking what others are experiencing and in quietly letting them know that they were “on his watch.”
  2. He had Fun – You have to see the pictures of Joshua singing with an open heart (but not necessarily on tune…) at Heartland just days before his death and the videos of him dancing and playing around, juxtaposed next to film of him playing basketball and other “serious” endeavors.  He was having fun!  Not too serious, not mean spirited, intensely competitive – yet never willing to let the desire to win eclipse the respect and honor of the innate value of every person as a special creation.  This is captured brilliantly with the video by his brother Junior: My Brother Joshua Hernandez.       
  3. He was Humble – An impossible challenge for a teenager on the trip into adulthood.  Teenagers are supposed to be immodest and self absorbed.  For many these delusions of grandeur continues until well into our thirties, forties or even fifty’s.  But Joshua, grounded by his two older sisters, challenged and confronted this tendency.   Joshua said he wanted a BMW to Cheri, his sister, who replied “one day you can, but you don’t deserve it yet” (I hear her saying “that is normal, now get over it, and do what it takes to earn what you desire in life”).   As a result Joshua lived life asking “what can I do for you?” For Christians “what can I do to support a life of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness,  gentleness and self control?  (Galatians 5:22) while avoiding idolatry, hatred, contentions, jealousies, wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, envy, drunkenness, and the like. (Galatians 5:19)  A mantra many “Christians” profess but fail to follow, one that Joshua lived and modeled, resulting in tremendous influence and respect.

I am inspired.  Inspired to live life, not in word, but in deed, to be a Christian.  To be safe, to have fun, and to be humble.  Inspired by Heartland Church for their contribution to our community.  Inspired by Cheri and Monica Hernandez for their grounding and courage in their Christian walk.  Finally, inspired by the young men and women that knew Josh and who are committed, like me, to Live Like Josh